IN THE ART OF GREEK ARTIST KATERINA KOKKINAKI, HERMAPHRODITE FIGURES DIRECT THEIR OWN LIVES. A BITING PSYCHOLOGICAL GAME THROUGH GENDERS.
CARMEN HUST | ARTICULATE PROMOTE | MAY 2020
The personal unconscious is the creative battlefield for the Greek visual artist Katerina Kokkinaki (b. 1977). Here she tends to pick up pictures, ideas, feelings, sensations, secret thoughts, unsolved and dark relations. Inner and sharp actions unsolved through time. Hermaphrodite figures direct their own lives and movements with symbolic attachments representing relations of their real life. Impressive women trying to seduce and provoke, but still leaving a bitter taste of emptiness. Something or someone is missing, surrounding absence is strong. Women who look like men. Trying to reach a man hiding himself inside them. A biting psychologic game through genders.
To Kokkinaki, her preferred media is acrylics on canvas. To her it assimilates oilpaint but in a sense that is more unreal and less dreamy. To her the sense is darker and borderless. She also enjoys materials such as aquarelle on Chinese paper and stencils too, simple and direct.
When asking her, if her works are prethought and how she chooses her subject matter, she remotely replies that all of this happens in a sort of automated way; pictures appear to her suddenly on their own. But in order to fulfill them she has to reach the right phase, the proper space and necessary details which most times work like small symbolic bombs in the composition. She makes a data base of presences that she searches with keywords and most times the tanks of fashion editorials give her what she’s in search of: Distantly beautiful, neuter models with a bitter taste of non-material emptiness.
“Byzantine hands” touch with tenderness their allegorical accessories, like shells protecting the human inner wounds. Happening in a no real space, without a geographical identity. Place without time and home.
The key element in creating a good composition is “atmosphere” to Kokkinaki. “Atmosphere” is the blind tool to modify parts, gives character and finally makes a statement. There are some elements to reach the right atmosphere. To her, each picture is a short film direction, a “tableau vivant”.
Tableau vivant, French for ‘living picture’, is a static scene containing one or more actors or models. They are stationary and silent, usually in costumes, carefully posed, with props and/or scenery, and may be theatrical.
Another element to reach this kind of unreal and melancholic atmosphere is the technique of representation in two dimensions.
The static non-perspective view along with the “paper figures” want to give the sense of unreal world. Sometimes Kokkinaki has a cynical approach to the traditional techniques of painting, like the “sfoumato” of my favorite Raphael. Picking up tried methods and mixing them with the personal pallet of experiences, colors and skills.
In fine art, the term "sfumato" (derived from the Italian word fumo, meaning "smoke") refers to the technique of oil painting which colors or tones are blended in such a subtle manner that they melt into one another without perceptible transitions, lines or edges.
This article about Katerina Kokkinaki takes part of the ARTICULATE promote plan. The plan seeks to showcase artists and their work process in order to promote these, and support the artists to grow their audience.
Please do allow yourself the pleasure of passing by Katerina Kokkinaki's website, and have a look at some of her other works and projects